What Kind of Doctor Do You See for Sleep Apnea?
If you are wondering what type of doctor you should see for your sleep apnea, come to Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. Call our clinic today to speak with one of our professionals or schedule an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Columbia MO, Kansas City MO, Albuquerque NM, Brewster NY, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep condition affecting the lives of millions of Americans. It is characterized by a total blockage of airflow during sleep and often results in poor sleep quality and fatigue during the day. Sleep apnea is commonly treated by somnologists, or sleep doctors, which are often part of another branch of science or medicine, including dentistry, neurology and psychiatry.
Is sleep apnea and snoring related?
Snoring is often associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder. Not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea. However, it may be an indication to see a doctor for further evaluation if snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sore throat upon awakening
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Restless sleep
- Chest pain at night
- Loud snoring that disrupts your partner’s sleep
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
Common warning signs of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
- Waking up with a sore or dry throat
- Occasionally waking up feeling choked or gasping for breath
- Lethargy or lack of energy during the day
- Morning headaches
- Sleepiness while driving
- Restless sleep
- Mood changes
- Decreased interest in sex
What is a sleep doctor specialist called?
Sleep specialists are known as somnologists and often practice another type of medicine. Healthcare professionals that specialize in treating sleep disorders can include any of the following:
Primary Care Doctors — If you have questions about snoring, morning headaches, memory problems, or other symptoms of sleep apnea, it is likely that you will book an appointment with your primary care doctor first. They may be able to effectively evaluate, diagnose and treat your condition. In other cases that go beyond their field of expertise, they can refer you to a specialist.
Sleep Specialists — Somnology is the study or treatment of sleep disorders and is practiced by sleep medicine doctors from a variety of different fields of medicine. They undergo special training and testing to diagnose a number of sleep-related disorders, including sleep apnea. Often, sleep specialists begin with another type of specialty, such as dentistry or neurology. The best sleep specialist for you may depend on the cause of your sleep apnea.
Dentists — These medical professionals do more than fill cavities, in fact, some dentists have special training in treating sleep-related breathing disorders, including sleep apnea and TMD. They may help by fitting you with a special dental device known as an oral appliance that moves your jaw forward, making it easier to breathe. Usually, a dentist will work with a specialist to manage a patient’s care. However, in cases where dentists also practice sleep medicine, they can effectively develop a treatment plan based on their own experience and expertise. The dentist will make changes to your oral device as needed.
Surgeons — Another professional that can help with sleep disorders is a surgeon. While typically only used when other methods have been unsuccessful, surgery can help reshape the airways, making breathing easier at night. Although different types of surgeons can help to improve airflow, dental surgeons are typically the most qualified, as they are familiar with surgical procedures involving the mouth.
At Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders for Sleep and TMJ Disorders, we are fortunate to have some of the highest rated medical professionals for sleep disorders. Dr. Rod Willey, Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders’s founder, specializes in neuromuscular dentistry and dental surgery, with over ten years of experience in treating sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea and TMD. If you struggle with a sleep disorder, come in today for a professional evaluation. We look forward to serving you!